Pink Floyd’s sixth album, ‘Meddle’, is regarded as a prog rock masterpiece. The band had released enjoyable works prior to its release in 1971, but ‘Meddle’ is arguably the first album where all of the “classic Floyd” ingredients came together to create something coherent. David Gilmour has referred to it as the first album since his appointment as guitarist that really made sense, and – as enjoyable as bits of its predecessors are in their own weird and wonderful ways – it’s hard not to argue with that logic. The thunderous bass groove driving ‘One of These Days’ very much looks forward to parts of ‘Animals’; in Gilmour’s ‘Fearless’, there’s a melodic prog songcraft that he would take forward and make the heart of ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ and even the post-Roger Waters ‘Division Bell’, and via the mighty ‘Echoes’ – a side long epic – bits of the Floyd’s soundtrack recording past collide with huge solos, and there’s even a melodic phrase that would be reworked a few years later to become one of ‘Dark Side’s timeless musical touchstones. Unfortunately, there’s the lazy blues of ‘Seamus’, too – something that undoubtedly grew from their Pompeii animal cruelty jam ‘Madamoiselle Nobs’ – but very few albums are perfect.
Although technically still a new band at the time of this 2023 release, Withering Scorn features some very familiar faces. Metal fans will recognise guitarist Glen Drover from his time as one of MegaDave’s hired hands in one of the lesser versions of Megadeth, as well as being a man who has released metal-oriented instrumental records. Bassist Joe DiBiase spent most of his musical life as a member of Fates Warning, and vocalist Henning Basse has previously been a member of Metalium and Firewind. Rounding out the line-up is Glen’s brother Shawn, a man who has also served time with Megadeth, as well as being a member of Eidolon (also with Glen) and Act of Defiance. It isn’t exactly what most people would call an “all star” line-up, but in terms of hard working, seasoned musicians, Withering Scorn has something of a pedigree.
Tonic Breed is the brainchild of Norwegian musician Patrik K. Svendsen. On the band’s previous releases, he and his band gave metal fans a whole world of technical, thrash based sounds, but with this EP, he pushes even further into the realms of heavy melody. Now a one man metal juggernaut, he plays pretty much everything on ‘Fuel The Fire’, but by roping in a few friends along the way, it results in a short blast that could just be his finest work to date.
With the decade coming towards its end, 1988 was a genuine mixed bag. Pet Shop Boys released some of their best ever work; Elton John’s ‘Reg Strikes Back’ album marked somewhat of a comeback for the megastar after five years of intermittently enjoyable material and Jane Wiedlin hit the UK singles chart with ‘Rush Hour’, arguably one of the decade’s greatest pop singles.
Thrash titans Megadeth release their long-awaited new album ‘Dystopia’ in the UK in January.
For reasons best known to Amazon, the album is available to pre-order at somewhere nearing half the RRP. Take advantage before the price goes up, by clicking on the album cover below!